I sat there watching the sun shimmer on my mother’s fragile face, revealing with its unforgiving light every wrinkle & age mark etched on her pale skin. Once plump & robust she was now thin and listless, her eyes glazed by time and her occasional attempts at speaking were futile. The fact that she no longer recognised me as her most talkative son was what hurt the most. Alzheimer’s disease had over the years slowly stolen the mother I once knew. When I was a young lad, I thought my mum would be there as long as I needed her.
When I grew up, I felt I could deal with life’s difficulties on my own, seeking her advice only when necessary. When I finally found my soulmate and married her, I assumed my wife alone would ease me through life’s hurdles. Of course, I would always cherish my mum and appreciate her moral support during trying times, such as the birth of my first child & other difficult events. I would not need her in the way I did as a child.
I was in my late sixties when mum ceased to be lucid. I longed for her hugs & yearned for her words of comfort, the warmth of her once radiant smile. Over several years mum had gradually drifted away into a world one could not reach, I missed her terribly!
The tears I shed scalded my cheeks as they did when I was young & needed her to soothe a hurt or mend my broken heart. Eventually mum failed to recognise family members & seldom spoke. Although Alzheimer’s syndrome eventually robbed her of her vibrant personality & transformed her into a shell of her former self, we knew that God had not abandoned her. Mum had always displayed a strong faith in God & trusted him to help her in every area of her long life. Now she was totally in his hands and some day we knew she would enter a new & joyful world far different than the miserable existence she was now enduring.
Now that she is gone, I seek her prayers during difficult times, sometimes I tell her my problems, then once more I experience her smile & warmth of her love. I am grateful that I have so many warm memories of her to cherish. When my mum went home to God it was devastating, even though I knew she was far better off. To ease my grief, I listen to songs she loved. When I do my few chores, I recall how she was before her illness, I always pray for her.
To this day I still pray for her, it enables me to pay her back for all the Rosaries she said for me before her illness took hold. I still miss her so much but I am always soothed by knowing that she is now enjoying a far greater happiness than what she endured during her last years here on earth. I hope to be reunited with her again someday. I cannot choose the shape of my end but after watching mothers last few years, I pray that I may go quickly.
Written November 2019